wandelaar

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About wandelaar

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  1. A nice collection of red herrings.... If you have some actual examples of the usefulness of the I Ching in understanding processes of change then please post them here:
  2. @ freeform It sure looked promising, and that's why I devoted quite some time to reading books about the system of the I Ching as some kind of model for the changes in the world. But when you look at what the model actually delivers in the sense of adding to our understanding of change, than nothing of any substance remains. The modern scientific approach by means of differential and/or difference equations or the applications for integral transforms and operator calculus for the description and understanding of processes of change is hugely superior. I think it's a pity that this is so, because it would have been very interesting when the I Ching did in fact present a worthy alternative to modern science in understanding change, but unhappily this doesn't appear to be so. Nevertheless as an oracle the I Ching could very well work, but not because of any supernatural or synchronistical underlying mechanism. But this discussion has already been had some time ago, and I don't like to repeat what has already been said.
  3. That's true as regards religious Taoism and it's many superstitious practices. Neither Lao tzu nor Chuang tzu promotes studying the I Ching. It's perfectly possible to be a philosophical Taoist without studying or using the I Ching. And personally I don't even want to get into the mindset of religious Taoism. I have had enough of make-believe: western or eastern.
  4. I have small statues of Buddha, Lao tzu and Confucius. Not to pray to them, but as a reminder of the human (not supernatural) wisdom they brought to this world. One doesn't have to be religious to recognize the value of some spiritual accomplishments. Further I think that simple meditation (just sitting/mindfulness) is generally healthy.
  5. What is true about mystic states is that in those states our illusion of being isolated autonomous entities temporarily falls away. This falling away is true because we are not autonomous entities, but only small relatively insignificant parts of the universe that are biologically programmed (as a result of human evolution) to worry about their own survival. The step from the fact of this worry about ones own survival to the idea that there objectively is something special and valuable about the part of the universe that constitudes one's own person is a small one, but this step is logically and factually incorrect. Thus mystic experiences might lead to a more realistic humble attitude and a deminishing of egocentric thoughts and behaviour. But it also might leads to spiritual arrogance when one imagines oneself to be in possession of superior knowledge that is beyond the reach of mere mortals. The experience of unity with the universe might even lead to the idea that one is God and as such is completely justified to behave (and misbehave) as a God.
  6. Explanations need to be tested, it's not enough to "resonate" with some explanation or to have a feeling of absolute certainty. At least that is my position. And I am in good company as even Lao tzu and Chuang tzu had no problem with acknowledging that even they didn't know everything. There is no need for dogma's to fill up the holes in our fallible human knowledge.
  7. Introducing string theory into the equation only makes matters worse. Maybe string theory will one day become legitimate physics, but currently it's just mathematically inspired speculation. No better than religious dogma.
  8. @ Mudfoot Agreed. The Buddhist and philosophical Taoist insights about change and insubstantiality perfectly accord with modern views within physics about the nature of the material world. But the nondualist dogma that takes consciousness or awareness as being the foundation of everything else goes way beyond what can be known. That's why I prefer the sober Taoist approach of just posing Tao as the foundation and the modest refusal to further speculate as to its fundamental nature.
  9. The simple fact of the matter is that our perceptions of the world are the result of both the situation in the world itself and our own ideas about the world. Marblehead would have made a joke about it to bring back some common sense to this discussion, but unhappily I am not that spiritually advanced and I only get irritated.
  10. Similarities among religions

    The crucial point is that believers don't like to see mystical experiences as experiences, but wish to see them as special forms of perception. And here our ways part. Mystical experiences might be perceptions, or they might not me perceptions. But there is no a priori reason to consider them as more truthful than for instance optical illusions or common fallacies. In my opinion the Taoism of Lao tzu and Chuang tzu is much more valuable then what later grew into the Taoist religion and esoteric traditions. That those later tradition themselves are also age-old doesn't prove anything: the large majority of people don't care about critically investigating their beliefs and superstitions. And within sectarian movements it's particularly difficult to keep up a critical spirit. Thus nonsensical traditions of all sorts easily survive the ages.
  11. Similarities among religions

    I completely accept the existence of mystical experiences, and it would be foolish to deny that people can have those experiences. It would be ridiculous to suppose that people throughout the ages and in all places would have just made up similar stories about those experiences that often enough got them into trouble because they were considered as mad or heterodox as a result. It's the interpretation of those experiences that I consider doubtful as it seems to be based on nothing more than the feeling of absolute certainty that often accompanies such experiences. And this I cannot accept: it's the same fallacy as of Christians who say that the Bible is the word of God because the book says so. In other words you just have to believe it. I rather honestly acknowledge that I don't know what I don't know.
  12. Similarities among religions

    That's why I wrote "serious scientist" and not just "scientist". However there is a problem even for the serious scientist in that some pseudoscientists such as the flat earth believers are incapable of rational argumentation and immune to inconvenient facts (which they simply discard as being lies or fake news fabricated by those in power). Many a scientist would have no time left if he were to answer to all the nonsense and stupidity that is posted on the internet or delivered to him by email (in case he is a publicly welknown figure). As to the effects of meditation, they are indeed measurable. However one can meditate without having mystical experiences, and one can have mystical experiences without meditating. So the problem is: what do you consider to be awakening or enlightenment?
  13. Similarities among religions

    Yes - that's the form of discussion I like. What you describe above could be the case. Maybe. I would be pleased if this were so. You are wrong here. What I see as spiritual arrogance is when Bums claim superior knowledge or insight without them giving the slightest indication or proof that they really have it. A serious scientist would answer a critic by giving arguments and pointing out verifiable facts, not by framing the critic as a (spiritually immature) idiot.
  14. Similarities among religions

    And as usual no decent arguments are given. Obvious things are not always true, and true things are not always obvious. The rest of your post isn't any better. These type of non-discussions are the reason why I have become highly sceptical about enlightenment. There obviously are mystical experiences, but what they mean is quite another cup of thee. What I said is only confrontational for those Bums who don't like to critically examine the meaning of their mystical experiences. They rather prefer to just accept the feeling of absolute certainty that often accompanies such experiences. And when somebody comes along who asks why their interpretation of their mystical experiences should be accepted as true, than the questioner is framed as obsessed, stupid, spiritually incompetent, etc. No decent discussion ever evolves. And thus I have no reason to believe in the interpretations of mystical experiences that are here propounded as absolute truths. They are no better than the dogma's of the church. I will go my own way whether or not this is approved by those who consider themselves as (partially) Awakened or as the True Taoists. Further it is clear what the term "philosophical Taoism" means, and I will keep using it. You may now have the last word, as I am tired of discussing enlightenment.
  15. Similarities among religions

    @ rideforever Just one more case of spiritual arrogance, nothing special...